Challenged to forgive I long to fully let the matter go – Yes, forgiveness is necessary – My wounds are fresh What would Jesus do? Forgive They are disregarding what’s best – Still, despite their actions I must forgive What would Jesus do? Forgive My hardness had to soften and yield to forgiveness – It’s best and the way of the Lord What would Jesus do? Forgive Peter betrayed Jesus, denied even knowing him – He cursed and denied his Lord – Thrice Peter did that What did Jesus do? He forgave him Christ Jesus, pure and innocent was put on a cross and crucified for doing his Father’s business – loving, teaching healing, and raising the dead – What did Jesus say? “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Tributes are indeed fitting for the godly, noble and courageous women mentioned in the Bible. We read about precious, Mary, the mother of Jesus and her dear cousin Elizabeth who gave birth to John the Baptist. John baptized Jesus and we read in Matthew 3:17 – KJV, these words spoken by God, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” I wonder what it was like for those two women to raise Jesus and John. Imagine those spirited households! Certainly, God knew who’d make the best mothers. We don’t know whether John was an only child of his parents. The Bible does tell us that Jesus had sisters and brothers. It had to be strikingly interesting to raise the Son of God in the home with siblings not charged with such awesome missions to accomplish. Huge admiration swells for Mary’s role in the rearing of Christ Jesus. Of course, Joseph had a vital role, as well. Elizabeth’s role was an important one, too, with her husband ZachariasContinue reading »

We are approaching the first Monday in September, which in America and Canada is Labor Day. In the USA, it became a federal holiday in 1894 as a tribute to the achievements of American workers. Appreciation extends to the many people who have made and who now make valuable contributions to work places. Indeed, there are many folks who regularly sacrifice to provide services to others. Years ago, manual labor was more prevalent. Some workers toiled in intense heat on farms, in mines, and in factories. Lots of muscle work was put in to do the assorted jobs. Such continues but the numbers in such fields have diminished. In high and low places, laborers perform, often in dangerous environments, to accomplish necessary tasks. Currently, computer usage has replaced much that was done manually. Yes, things have changed considerably in the labor markets. The Bible tells us in Mark 6:3 – KJV that Jesus was a carpenter. It says, “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother ofContinue reading »

“This cup is the New Covenant” – Luke 22:20 Jesus brings about a new covenant with God the Father. It builds upon the foundation of the Mosaic Covenant, which was built on laws. The term “covenant” is a powerful term; legally it can mean “contract”, theologically it is understood as “testament”, commonly it is seen as “promise”. These are all fine interpretations, but the underlying meaning must be recognized; it connotes “understanding”. It is the act of two parties coming to a mutual understanding and binding themselves to it. In the time of Moses, the understanding was based on adherence to the Law; the Law was seen as the means to Salvation and the overcoming of Sin. The Law guided your life, allowing one to calculate all actions. It provided a starting point and an ultimate standard for one’s For us, God combined his manifest power and the sacred properties of being made new in the person of Christ Jesus. Jesus is the “new Adam”, ushering in a new age ofContinue reading »

“I make all things new” – Revelation 21:5 This is a time of power and a time to be empowered in our world! The created world has just worked through another cycle and the Winter Solstice has occurred, a natural marker that the long and cold nights are now becoming shorter and the earth prepares for new life. Humankind has completed another cycle as well, we have turned the calendar to begin a new year. Hopes are high, businesses are now moving past the holiday season, ministries can now renew themselves, and now we can call upon ourselves to be better than we have been in the past. In the world of the Bible, new things were thought to have had a special power that was almost mystical. The properties of something that is “new” gave it particular effectiveness. When something is new, it has not been strained or weakened- power is new in the object. The new person or thing is at its fullest potential and strength. We see this belief inContinue reading »

In case you are unaware of the origin of this saying (What Would Jesus Do?), it comes from a book written in 1896 that details the year long journey of several church members in response to a sermon challenging the congregation to spend one year doing nothing before asking themselves, What would Jesus do? The whole title of the book is “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” I am sure most are familiar with the WWJD (what would Jesus do?) movement that inspired many outward signs of an inward commitment, such as WWJD bracelets, shirts, etc. Anything that enjoys wide-spread popularity, such as this, runs the risk of becoming cliché and thereby, ineffectual. The real question is, is it still relevant? Without question, stopping to think before acting and considering how Jesus would handle a situation – what He would say (or not say) or what would He do – will never become irrelevant. The whole purpose of sanctification is to be like Jesus. He never did anything wrong. Continue reading »

Pressing on and going forward Philippians 3:13-14 ( NKJV ) “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Forgiving and forgetting is the prerequisite to going forward. As we follow the example of the apostle Paul and echo his words of “this one thing I do,” let’s not miss the truth that in order to reach ahead and press forward it is at times necessary to forgive and forget the things of our past. Looking back keeps us from looking upward to God for help. Forgiving and forgetting are keys to true freedom in the Christian life. The hardest thing about being a Christian is keeping your eyes on God. We get so easily distracted in this fallen world. We need to have our mind set on the things that will glorifyContinue reading »

“Come to me, . . . and I will give you rest”- Matthew 11:28 With these words Jesus offers his people protection from the world and its trials. In his words, the words of the Psalmist- “my body will rest in hope” (Psalm 16:9) takes on a new reality. The Psalmist speaks of the abiding in confidence that is the result of faith. This faith grows strong in the actions of God and the displays of power and love which abound in His presence. Now, Jesus embodies and offers the rest which the Psalmist praised. Jesus is the presence of God among us- the Immanuel, Isaiah 7:14- we do not have to search for the power of God in the Heavens, but it is now revealed in humankind. Jesus is not speaking of looking to vague future renewal to be done at some indeterminate time. Jesus was a man who walked among us, he understood the problems with which we deal and the struggles which we face. These are that which weary usContinue reading »

Jesus as the “lamb of God” is a phrase that has long confused people and has caused questionable conclusions about God’s role in redemption to arise. John’s Gospel sheds a powerful light on the Biblical theology of Jesus being the true “lamb of God”. We first hear this title proclaimed by John the Baptist (John 1: 29), when he says to behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John’s Greek is very clear on this point. The phrase “Lamb of God” is constructed in, what is called, the “genitive of possession”. Simply put, this “lamb” belongs to God. The lamb has always been the most famous sacrificial animal. Taken further, this phrase is saying that this is the sacrifice of God, not to God. John is making reference to the expiatory, or atoning, nature of Old Testament sacrificial laws. Therefore, God Himself is putting forth His own Lamb, Jesus, to make amends for our sins. This sacrificial image lies dormant in John’s Gospel untilContinue reading »

O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? – 1 Corinthians 15:55 These are powerful words from the Apostle, Paul, who argued that the power of death had been broken. Death, in antiquity, was not very well understood. In the time of the Patriarchs, there was no concept of an afterlife. Any form of immortality or everlasting life was as a long life, which is one reason why so many of the early figures of the Bible were said to have such extraordinary long lives, or with progeny. This is why the “sacrifice of Isaac” was such a powerful test for Abraham (Genesis 22) and he was seen as the “Father of Faith”. Isaac was his only link offspring with Sarah and was Abraham’s only way to achieve eternal life. Later, the concept of “sheol”, loosely translated as “pit” or “grave” emerged. This was a placed where souls went after the bodies died off. It was a place with no activity or worship. It was notContinue reading »

Life so often throws us curve balls and some folks can relate to “punches” that can suck the wind right out of “sails.” Blows and winds of drama can render us dazed and not always quick to recover. Reality makes appearances that deliver both joys and sorrows. We welcome what’s joyous, but brace against the blustery storms. Heartening is to know that despite the uncertainties and the seasons of tribulation, surely, Christ-dwelling folks are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. – Romans 8:37 – KJV. We have the blessed assurances that God always causes us to triumph in Christ Jesus. The Lord marvelously moves in the presence of the “beasts.” God bows to none; all bow to Him. High and jubilant praises to Father GOD for our moves that win.